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Thrifty Tours

Geothermal Journey

Begin your adventure in Auckland, the City of Sails. You will be collected from the airport and transported to your accommodation, and then enjoy a very special Harbour Dinner Cruise. The following morning you are off to Rotorua, but not before exploring the magical Waitomo Caves and Ruakuri caves along the way, renowned for their glowworm population and impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations. After arriving in Rotorua and having a good night's sleep, the next day you are off on your first brush with the geothermal wonders of the area, on a half-day eco-thermal park tour in the morning. That afternoon, indulge in the lush offerings of Hell's Gate, including a geothermal walk, mud bath, and sulphur spas. The next morning, hop aboard a comfortable coach and travel to Taupo, renowned for its lake and volcanic caldera, then explore the Wairakei Terraces walkway and thermal pools. Day five sees you returning to where your journey began in Auckland, for a final night to revel in the experiences you've had so far, possibly opting for a send-off dinner at the Sky Tower Orbit Restaurant. The following morning you are transported to the airport for departure. Haere rā!

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Tour summary and feature

Quick Itinerary Details

New Zealand Independent Tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$2,365 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

6 days/5 nights

Motels

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 95 times in the last 7 days

This tour also includes
- Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland accommodation
- Private transfer Auckland Inner City
- Private Transfer Auckland accommodation to Auckland Airport
Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
Geothermal Journey - Day 1
Auckland City

As New Zealand's largest city, Auckland offers an abundance of activities and hidden gems suited for everyone. Keep the kids entertained at the lively Kiwi playground of Rainbows End or dive into the fascinating marine world at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium. For a serene escape, venture to the award-winning wineries scattered across Waiheke Island; simply hop on a ferry and enjoy a leisurely day in the coastal breeze. Immerse yourself in nature's beauty at the expansive Auckland Botanic Gardens, sprawled across 156 acres of lush land and native forest on Hil Road. Pack a picnic, soak up the sunshine, and delight in the melodious birdsong during a peaceful lunch. As evening falls, explore the vibrant Auckland night markets, offering an array of local produce, delectable treats, and artisanal creations at various locations throughout the week. Experience the great outdoors by visiting iconic landmarks such as One Tree Hill or the renowned ex-volcano, Mt Eden. Alternatively, hop on a quick ferry from the CBD to Devonport and discover this charming seaside suburb. Shopaholics will be delighted to explore Auckland's main shopping district, Newmarket, boasting an array of local boutiques and luxury labels nestled within the Newmarket Westfield Mall. Indulge in a unique shopping experience along Ponsonby Road, featuring New Zealand designers, quaint boutiques, and exceptional dining options. Explore the eclectic mix of bars, thrift shops, and culinary delights along Karangahape Road, affectionately known as "K Road" by locals. Once Auckland's red-light district in the 1960s, it's now recognized as the world's 6th coolest street. Auckland's diverse cultural landscape has inspired an array of tantalizing cuisines and dining experiences scattered across the city. From Chinese-inspired delicacies at The Nightcar to European-style cuisine at Gilt Brasserie, there's something to satisfy every palate. For a culinary adventure, head to Commercial Bay Harbour Eats, offering a rich tapestry of cuisines from beloved local vendors. Complete your evening with a visit to the bustling Long Room bar, a favorite haunt among Ponsonby residents. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and savor the diverse array of beverages on offer.

Private Transfer Auckland Airport to Auckland Accommodation

You will be met at the Auckland airport by the driver and transferred to your Auckland accommodation.

Harbour Sailing Dinner Cruise with Explore

This unique on-water sailing and dining experience is not to be missed while you're in Auckland. Enjoy smooth sailing on the Waitemata Harbour - then watch this photogenic city come alive with twinkling lights. Enjoy your meal as you sail around the beautiful Auckland Harbour taking in the view as the sun slowly sets. You'll be treated to canapes and a drink as you set off towards Westhaven Marina. Choose between dining in the downstairs cabin or on deck to take in the iconic sights of the Auckland Harbour. To finish the evening off, savour your dessert course as you leisurely sail back to Auckland's vibrant Viaduct Harbour.

Your accommodation: Nesuto Stadium Hotel and Apartments

Nesuto Stadium offers 4.5 star self-contained apartment accommodation in downtown Auckland City. Located a short walk from Britomart Transport and Entertainment Precinct, Auckland Waterfront and Ferries, Queen Street and Vector Arena, Nesuto Stadium is in a wonderful location to visit all of Auckland Cities attractions.

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Geothermal Journey - Day 2
Auckland to Rotorua with Waitomo and Ruakuri Caves Tour with FlexiToursNZ

Ruakuri Cave offers a captivating blend of Waitomo’s most compelling subterranean experiences. Journey down through the spectacular spiral entrance, and marvel at the softly folding shawl-like limestone formations and crystal tapestries, hear the distant thunder of the subterranean waterfalls and get up close to the glowworms.
Ruakuri Cave is New Zealand’s longest guided underground walking tour and an experience that must be seen to be believed. It will leave you open-mouthed, awe-struck, and humbled by the sheer majesty of nature.

Your accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central

Located in the heart of Rotorua, just a stone’s throw from the restaurant and shopping precinct. Purpose built in 2012, all apartments are equipped with modern fixtures, full cooking and laundry facilities that make Quest Rotorua Central your perfect home away from home.

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Geothermal Journey - Day 3
Eco Thermal Park Tour with Elite Adventures

See it all, the ultimate volcanic and geothermal Rotorua Tour. Learn about the huge colourful hot springs, erupting geysers and active boiling mud pools, spectacular volcanoes and lush native forest. All on a fully guided 1/2 day tour in Rotorua. You'll travel through forestry and farmland to NZ's largest boiling mud pool and a series of colourful hot springs at Wai-o-tapu. Then see the Lady Knox geyser erupt. Next a short drive to the Waimangu Volcanic valley where your guide will explain the Mt Tarawera eruption which blew open this spectacular, bush covered, geothermal park.

Hells Gate Experience (Geothermal Walk, Mud Bath, Sulphur Spas)

Combine all three of Hell’s Gate most popular experiences with this package. Take part in the guided or self-guided interactive geothermal walk before indulging in their geothermal mud and sulphur waters, experiencing the healing properties local Māori have been using for centuries. It’s a Rotorua experience you’ll never forget.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Mount Tarawera & Orakei Korako Thermal Explorer by Helicopter

Combine the thrill of landing on Mount Tarawera with a flight that includes spectacular aerial views of Rotorua's stunning crater lakes, the renowned Tarawera Falls and the vibrant Waimangu and Wai-O-Tapu geothermal reserves.
Leaving Wai-O-Tapu, descend to follow the Waikato River to the hidden valley of Orakei Korako. Once landed, you will ferry across the river and begin your land-based tour. Experience hot springs, gushing geysers and the natural beauty of this geothermal wonderland. The return flight takes in views of farmland and the Paeroa mountain range before flying over Rotorua City and returning to the lakefront pier.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Te Puia: Te Rā Daytime Experience

Te Puia welcomes you to explore the magic hidden within Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. Become face-to-face with the majestic Pōhutu Geyser, the largest naturally active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. Feel the thrill as it erupts, sending plumes of steam into the sky. Then, step into the Kiwi Conservation Centre, for a close-up encounter with this rare native species, a symbol of our nation's unique wildlife. Part of your ticket is donated to support the conservation of the Kiwi in this sanctuary. As you continue through the Te Puia Valley, look upon the dynamic landscape of bubbling mud pools, and steaming vents and feel the power that the land holds. Throughout this, everywhere you look you will see beautifully crafted Māori-made artwork and sculptures, each piece a story carved in wood and stone, adding a layer of cultural depth to the natural beauty. Step into the New Zealand Māori-made artwork and sculptures, each piece a story carved in wood and stone, adding a layer of cultural depth to the natural beauty. The guides are direct descendants of the original tour guides, and you can feel their excitement to show their culture and land. 

Your accommodation: Quest Rotorua Central

Located in the heart of Rotorua, just a stone’s throw from the restaurant and shopping precinct. Purpose built in 2012, all apartments are equipped with modern fixtures, full cooking and laundry facilities that make Quest Rotorua Central your perfect home away from home.

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Geothermal Journey - Day 4
Rotorua to Taupō by InterCity Coach

Today you will travel along the geothermal highway between Rotorua and Taupō. The town of Taupō sits on New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupō. Just north of the town are the Huka Falls, the Huka Jet can get you much closer to the falls with a thrilling jet boat ride. Craters of the Moon is a nearby geothermal reserve with well formed walking tracks around its many boiling pools and steaming vents.

Wairakei Terraces Walkway and Thermal Pools

Journey into the mysterious world of the Wairakei Terraces, described by early explorers as a natural phenomenon unlikely to be found anywhere else.You'll wander past the Terraces along the geothermal and Maori cultural walkway where you will discover intricate carvings that depict the history of New Zealand Maori and in particular the local tribe Ngati Tuwharetoa. Observe the geyser as it expels boiling water heated at the Earth's core, this silica rich water flows away into the startling blue pools and cascades over the terraces contributing to their spectacular form. After your walk you'll have time to relax in the therapeutic waters of the Wairakei Thermal Pools and soak up the unique atmosphere.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Walking tracks in and around Taupo

Taupo’s untouched ancient forests and swamplands, impressive geothermal wonderlands, and breath-taking volcanoes are crisscrossed with excellent walking and hiking tracks of all lengths and levels of difficulty. From pleasant lakefront and riverside strolls like the Great Lake Walkway and Huka Falls trails, through to the Tongariro River Trail and Lake Rotopounamu native bush walks ringing with birdsong.

Huka Falls Lookout Walk
Huka Falls is just a five minute drive north of Taupō, off SH1 on Huka Falls Road. From the Huka Falls carpark, it's just a 10 minute walk to cross the bridge over the falls and turn left. There are several lookout points on this easy access walk to take advantage of the views of the spectacular Huka Falls. The incredible volume of water tumbling over the falls is due to the Waikato River being forced through a channel of hard rock only 15m wide and 10m deep. The river emerges with a rush at the northern end to form the falls.

Spa Park to Huka Falls Walk
This walking track allows you to walk rather than drive to the Huka Falls from Taupō. Taking 1hour 30 minutes this 3km track is a pleasant walk for all ages, starting from Spa Park and winding along the banks of the Waikato River. From the car park walk five minutes down to the river's edge where you'll cross the Otumuheke Stream, a naturally hot stream which flows into the Waikato. The well-defined track then continues along the riverbank and offers lovely views along the way. Return via the same track or arrange transport from Huka Falls carpark.

Aratiatia Rapids Lookout Walk
These are the famous rapids used in the filming of the barrel escape scene in Peter Jackson's movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
The Aratiatia Dam and Rapids are located on Aratiatia Road, off SH5 10 km north of Taupō. Taking just 10 minutes, the 620m track leads to the two lookout points begins 50 metres from the bridge on the true right of the river. Before the water was diverted to the power station in 1964, the Aratiatia Rapids were the largest in Australasia - the Waikato River dropping 28 metres in just one kilometre. Today their full potential can still be seen during the scheduled daily releases - 10 am; 12 noon; 2 pm (and also 4 pm 1 October - 31 March). Each release lasts 15 minutes.

Kawakawa Bay Tracks
The K2K and Orakau tracks both take you into the picturesque Kawakawa Bay; walk the trails separately, or link them together for a longer day out.

Kinloch to Kawakawa (K2K)
Time (one way): 2 hr walk, 9 km
The track to Kawakawa Bay begins at the western end of the beach to the right of the parking area. Glorious views feature as the track climbs from Whangamata Bay and sidles along the top of a broad cliff. The bush is dominated by rewarewa but look out for the giant matai too. Once you reach the rocky lookout the track winds down into Kawakawa Bay. Here there is a shelter, toilet and plenty of opportunities for a swim or lakeside picnic.
Return via the same track, or link with the Orakau trail.

Orakau
Time (one way): 3 hr walk, 10 km
From the carpark on Whangamata Road, the trail follows the Orakau Stream and wetland through regenerating native bush down to the beach at Kawakawa Bay. The trail is generally downhill and offers views across Lake Taupō.
Return via the same track, or continue on to Kinloch via the K2K.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Craters of the Moon Geothermal Walk

Located a few minutes north of Taupō this geothermal park known as Craters of the Moon has a great self guided 30 minute walk through steaming craters and bubbling mud pools. Well marked walkways with interpretive boards guide you through one of the regions many active volcanic parks.

Your accommodation: Acapulco Motor Inn

Situated in a quiet location just off the main road. Walking distance to town center. Offering studio and one bedroom units with free wireless, sky TV and DVD player in all units.

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Geothermal Journey - Day 5
Taupō to Auckland by Intercity Coach

The coach journey from Taupō to Auckland takes you through the heart of the Waikato and its rich agricultural land. New Zealand's longest river, the Waikato River, guides you through the art and craft stores of Tirau and the township of Cambridge. Auckland City is New Zealand's largest, with a population of around 1.5 million people (about one third of the national population), spread over approximately 60 square kilometres. There is somewhere for every visitor to feel comfortable and right at home as each suburb has its own unique style and atmosphere, from the vibrant and trendy fashion and cuisine found on Ponsonby and Parnell Roads to the breath-taking native bush and beaches of the West Coast. One of the world's great cities Auckland is full of life and opportunities to explore are endless.

Private transfer Auckland Inner City with Corporate Cabs

You will be met by a representative of Corporate Cabs and transferred to your destination.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dinner at the Sky Tower Orbit Restaurant

Soaring high above Auckland you'll discover Orbit, a truly iconic New Zealand brasserie offering diners sensational views - and food to match. Situated at the top of Auckland's Sky Tower, the dining room rotates once every hour, providing a truly unique experience with amazing 360-degree panoramas of the city, the Hauraki Gulf and beyond.

Orbit offers a modern dining experience in a relaxed, open atmosphere with a delicious kiwi-inspired a la carte menu that features the best local and seasonal produce. As New Zealand's only rotating restaurant offering 360-degree views, it's an unforgettable experience that never ceases to delight.

Your accommodation: Nesuto Stadium Hotel and Apartments

Nesuto Stadium offers 4.5 star self-contained apartment accommodation in downtown Auckland City. Located a short walk from Britomart Transport and Entertainment Precinct, Auckland Waterfront and Ferries, Queen Street and Vector Arena, Nesuto Stadium is in a wonderful location to visit all of Auckland Cities attractions.

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Geothermal Journey - Day 6
Private Transfer Auckland accommodation to Auckland Airport with Tourcorp

You will be met at your Auckland accommodation by the driver and transferred to the airport.

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